independent– Freeze-dried mouse sperm stored on board the International Space Station (ISS) for almost six years did not undergo any DNA damage and continued to produce “healthy space pups”, a new study has found.
According to the scientists, the findings shed more light on whether mammals, including humans, can reproduce in space.
Combined with experiments on the ground exposing mice sperm to X rays, the research, published Friday in the journal Science Advances, found that mammalian sperm cells could be preserved aboard the International Space Station (ISS) for roughly 200 years.
While researchers have long known that exposure to radiation in outer space could damage the DNA in cells and result in mutations that could be passed down to offspring, a lack of freezers onboard the ISS has prevented long-term research on living cells.
Until now even the current Nasa cancer risk model for space radiation has been built based on data from the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings, “not from real experiments in space,” said the team including Sayaka Wakayama from the University of Yamanashi in Japan.